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SkyKing

Markings of WW II USAAF Jeeps

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A friend of mine has a 1/35 die-cast model Jeep and wants to decal it as a Jeep that might have been assigned to his father, a 7th AF B-24 pilot based on Saipan, and is wondering what the bumper markings might have been on such a vehicle. He asked me, but I’m out of my element here so am asking the experts. This begs the question: Who actually “owned” USAAF vehicles? The base motor pool? The Base Unit? The  Group? The Squadron? Would a Jeep have been permanently assigned to a Group or Squadron? Or would it have have been drawn from the motor pool as required?

And, finally, who makes suitable 1/35 letter/number decals for such markings?

Thanks in advance for the help.

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There are jeep-markings experts out there. I am not one of them. However, as an airplane modeler who's researched this issue for flightline dioramas, my solution is to look at as many flightline vehicle photos as you can, especially pix of that unit, or similar units in that same theater of operations. Attached is an example from the 8th AF in England. On the front bumper, you can see: "8 (star) 398 BG   600" which translates to 8th Air Force MAJCOM, 398th Bombardment Group, 600th Bombardment Squadron. Some jeeps followed all that with an individual vehicle number (one or two digits). The jeep experts have some sort of Ouija board for the serial numbers, but I've no idea how that works. This one is also covered with red-and-white, or maybe black-and-yellow checkers for hi-vis in the stinky English weather. Check out the Harleys, too!

Suggestion: Find some pix of that Saipan B-24 airfield/unit and look for their jeeps. They may have had jeeps in use with all services, SeeBees, etc. You may have some pretty cool artistic license, there. If there's just no data available from AAF Pacific bomber units, then I would default to the 8th AF format and at least call out the unit names you know, for that tribute.

398 BG RSU airfield control Jeep  (1).jpg

398 BG RSU airfield control Jeep & Harleys.jpg

Edited by VonL

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Thanks!

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I'm facing the same problem, as I have a couple of dioramas that would involve a jeep sitting near an airplane. What little research I've done (and I'm NO expert) seems to show that most jeeps were very plainly marked, UNLESS they were repurposed for a specific use like the flight line controllers in the pics above. A headquarters unit might have a certain number of jeeps assigned to them, and would carry those numbers for overall "ownership". However, their lower line units probably would not remark them. If a squadron was given a jeep to use, they'd simply use it and not bother with putting a squadron marking on it, unless (perhaps) you had a Squadron or Group commander who might plaster their insignia on it for fun or pride (more so than as an official marking).

In short, I think outside of specific types of jeeps, you do have a lot of artistic license. And one last thought....IF the people looking at your diorama are focusing on the serial numbers on the jeep, chances are you've failed in pointing them to where you WANT them to focus! I can't see it being that big of deal in the overall composition of your diorama.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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